Chicago Theatre Week stages free events and tours

Chicago Theatre Week stages free events and tours
That's Weird Grandma will be offering a free showcase performance during Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago Theatre Week, an annual celebration of the city’s rich theatre tradition, February 11 – 21, that offers tickets at $30, $15, or less to over 115 productions has gotten even better for 2016.

This year the League of Chicago Theatres has added a series of FREE special events as part of Theatre Week. These programs offer audiences an opportunity to further engage with Chicago’s extraordinary theatrical happenings. Events include lunchtime Showcases; a Staged Reading and an inside look at  Playwrights at Work.

All these events are free, open to the public, and will take place at Theatre Week Central, located in the historic Water Works Building at 163 E. Pearson. In addition the League is offering tours of Chicago theatres and theatre districts–some free, others with a fee. Here’s a rundown of Theatre Week extras:


Lunchtime showcase events will feature short performances, artist chats, and more at the Water Works Building (163 E. Pearson). Audiences are encouraged to arrive early and bring a lunch. These events will be no longer than 45 minutes.

Friday, February 12, 2016, noon. Hosted by Benno Nelson from The Common Room

  • Barrel of Monkeys – That’s Weird, Grandma
  • American Blues Theater – Looking Over the President’s Shoulder
  • Rivendell Theatre and Waltzing Mechanics – Body/Courage

Friday, February 19, 2016, noon. The showcases features songs from 3 musicals.

  • BoHo Theatre – Fugitive Songs
  • Filament Theatre – Pinocchio: A Folk Musical
  • Porchlight Music Theatre – Far From Heaven

Staged Reading

Saturday, February 20, at 2 p.m., 163 E. Pearson. Stage Left Theatre will present a free staged reading of The Body of an American by Dan O’Brien.

Playwrights at Work

February 11 – 21, Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. From a large screen facing outward, visitors will be able to read what the playwright is writing and watch the creation of the next great Chicago play in real time. The aim of the project is to raise the visibility of playwrights in Chicago and encourage audiences to engage more deeply with Chicago theatre and the creative process of writing a new play for the theatre. Participating Playwrights at Work include: Randall Colburn, Philip Dawkins, Ike Holter, Evan Linder, Jessy Lauren Smith, Laura Stratford, Regina Taylor, Calamity West, and others.


Broadway in Chicago will be offering tours of some of Chicago's vintage theatres

Broadway in Chicago will be offering tours of some of Chicago’s vintage theatres

The Chicago League of Theatres is presenting the following line-up of tours for Theatre Week. Please note that the Theatre Tours will take place on location, not at Theatre Week Central.

Belmont Theater District – Open House Tour 2016, Saturday, February 13. The BTD–home to more than 20 theaters and 100 bars and restaurants is located in the Lakeview neighborhood. This tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at theaters, show excerpts, and complimentary drinks, snacks and goodies from BTD Partner restaurants, bars, cafes and businesses in the District. Free. Register here.

Auditorium Theatre Tours, Thursdays, February 11 and 18 at 10:30 am., Monday, February 15 at 10:30 a.m. and noon. Tour this National Historic Landmark, built by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, with its 24-karat gold-leafed ceiling arches, bas-relief designs and murals by Charles Holloway and Albert Fleury. Tickets.

Broadway In Chicago Historic Theatre Tours, Saturdays, February 13 at 20 at 11 a.m. Each tour visits two of the three Broadway in Chicago theatres: the Oriental Theatre, the Cadillac Palace and The PrivateBank Theatre. The tours showcases the glittering vintage décor inspired by the foremost theatre designers of that time. Tickets, $12.

Glenwood Avenue Arts District, Saturday, February 20 at 2 p.m., Free. Check out some of Rogers Park’s diverse neighborhood theaters with a tour of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District. The District is hosting a special walking tour of the theatres that will step off at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N Glenwood Ave) before heading north on Glenwood Ave to Theo Ubique and finishing up at BoHo Theatre. Approximately 60 minutes. Click here to register.

Lyric Opera of Chicago Backstage Tours, Sunday, February 21, 2016. Tours depart within half hour time slots between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 10-stop walking tour features a behind the scenes look at the inside workings of the Lyric including discussions and demonstrations. 2 hours and 30 minutes. Tickets, $45.

The Chicago Theatre, February 11-21, 2015, noon. Get an insiders look at one of the country’s last remaining movie palaces. Tours are available year round but have been discounted for Theatre Week to $13 with promo code THWEEK. Tour Duration: 1 hour. For reservations, click here.

For more information and tickets

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres. For tickets and information on Chicago Theatre Week, click here.

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